Pride becoming contagious at Perry Traditional Academy

Sunday, August 19, 2018 | 10:54 PM


The pride Rod Rutherford has in his alma mater, Perry Traditional Academy, is evident.

Now, in his second season as head coach at Perry — the school that he suited up for as a star City League quarterback almost 20 years ago — that robust sense of pride is becoming a big part of reminding his players why they are working so hard to improve on a 1-4 league record from last season.

“We do have a rich tradition here, so we’re trying to make sure that they understand that,” Rutherford said.

“We want to help them believe in themselves with that. It’s helping them commit to buying in and understanding the process. We want to make sure they have a little faith because it’s been done before, and they have to understand that the hard work is necessary because that’s where the results come from.”

With more than half of the team’s starters on both offense and defense returning for the Commodores, there appears to be a real opportunity for improvement. According to returning senior quarterback Jakar Tucker, the pride that emanates from Rutherford and his staff is starting to becoming more contagious as players continue to buy in to the process.

“It rubbed off on me because I always wanted to play football for Perry, ever since I was little. Now, I think a lot of the other kids are starting to understand what playing football for Perry really means,” Tucker said.

“Our coaching staff has a lot of Perry grads, and they instill that pride in us every day. They remind us of what Perry was not too long ago, just how great the program was. And we’re hungry to get back to that.”

As the field general on offense, Tucker should have a handful of weapons to distribute the ball to. Nate Miles, a returning starter at tight end/defensive end, is working his way back from an ankle injury. Wide receivers Tyrese Jennings and Brasaun Oaks will be key targets.

“Our skill position players would probably be considered our strength,” Rutherford said.

“Brasaun played last year, and he’s been picking it up for us, so far. Tyrese will probably do a little bit of everything; he might be in the backfield, he’ll be in the slot and out wide for us. He’s a kid that we’ll also probably try to feature in a lot of ways.”

The unpredictability factor when it comes to Perry funneling the ball to its best athletes will be important as the team tries to keep opposing defenses guessing. From an X’s and O’s standpoint, that may have been a more difficult ask for Rutherford’s players in his first year at the helm. Now, the Commodores’ coach believes his players are beginning to get a better grip on the playbook and the team’s system.

“Things seem like they’re starting to make a little more sense for our guys, more and more so every day,” Rutherford said.

“They’re asking better questions. I think they have the right understanding. It’s a challenge and they’re stepping up to the challenge, so I’m excited for that.”


Coach: Rod Rutherford

2017 record: 1-7, 1-4

All-time record: 454-340-48

Date, Opponent, Time

8.25, Northgate, 1 p.m.

8.30, at Brashear*, 7 p.m.

9.14, University Prep*, 3:30 p.m.

9.21, at Allderdice*, 7 p.m.

9.27, at Carrick*, 7 p.m.

10.5, at Howland, Ohio, 7 p.m.

10.12, Westinghouse*, 7 p.m.

*City League game

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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